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Hot Tuna hooks UK flagship

Surfwear brand Hot Tuna will open a flagship store in London this summer as it relaunches with a more trend-driven offer.

Chief executive Niels Juul said the boutique store in Shoreditch, east London, could be the start of a retail roll-out if it proves successful.

The store will accompany Hot Tuna’s repositioning to become a more fashion-oriented brand, moving it away from a boardsports market dominated by labels such as Quiksilver and Billabong.

“This is a surf fashion brand, and we see ourselves competing with the likes of Juicy Couture,” said Juul. “We are like surf’s answer to Diesel. Hot Tuna has gone more upmarket and we have changed the supply base.”

Juul added that the brand needed to move away from obvious branding and mass- market positioning. Hot Tuna also has a store in LA. The new Shoreditch shop will be located alongside independent boutiques such as Start.

The brand will launch its revamped collection at its debut showing at the Bread & Butter trade show in Barcelona, which takes place July 2-4. The collection, aimed at 18- to 28-year-olds, will include T-shirts, coloured denim, hoodies and swimwear. Jeans will retail at about £90 with T-shirts at £25.

Hot Tuna has about 120 accounts in the UK, mostly with surf shops, but will launch into House of Fraser in the autumn and hopes to add more department store accounts. It also sells in David Jones and Myer in Australia, and US chain Fred Segal, as well in Germany, Switzerland and Spain.

Former Von Dutch managing director Juul was appointed as Hot Tuna chief executive a year ago to help turn around the business, which has struggled since its initial relaunch in 2005.
Sales from the group’s order book for spring 08 were US$2.11 million (£1.07m), up from US$593,000 (£300,000) for the previous spring.

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